The diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have received significant scrutiny. Several studies have investigated the utility of Criterion A2, the subjective emotional response to a traumatic event. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has proposed elimination of A2 from the PTSD diagnostic criteria for DSM-5; however, there is mixed support for this recommendation and few studies have examined A2 in samples at high risk for PTSD such as veterans. In the current study of 908 veterans who screened positive for a traumatic event, A2 was not significantly associated with having been told by a doctor that the veteran had PTSD. Those who endorsed A2, however, reported greater PTSD symptom severity in the 3 DSM-IV symptom clusters of reexperiencing (d = 0.45), avoidance (d = 0.61), and hyperarousal (d = 0.44), and A2 was significantly associated with PTSD symptom severity for all 3 clusters (R(2) = .25, .25, and .27, respectively) even with trauma exposure in the model. Thus, although A2 may not be a necessary criterion for PTSD diagnosis, its association with PTSD symptom severity warrants further exploration of its utility.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) stipulates that individuals have a behavioral activation system (BAS) guiding approach (rewarding) behaviors (Gray, 1971, 1981), and behavioral inhibition system (BIS) guiding conflict resolution between approach and avoidance (punishment) behaviors (Gray & McNaughton, 2000). Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) severity overall relates to both BIS (e.g., Myers, VanMeenen, & Servatius, 2012; Pickett, Bardeen, & Orcutt, 2011) and BAS (Pickett et al., 2011). Using a more refined approach, we assessed specific relations between PTSD's latent factors (Simms, Watson, & Doebbeling, 2002) and observed variables measuring BIS and BAS using 308 adult, trauma-exposed primary care patients. Confirmatory factor analysis and Wald chi-square tests demonstrated a significantly greater association with BIS severity compared to BAS severity for PTSD's dysphoria, avoidance, and re-experiencing factors. Further, PTSD's avoidance factor significantly mediated relations between BIS/BAS severity and PTSD's dysphoria factor.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anger is a common problem among veterans and has been associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study aimed to improve understanding of how anger and PTSD co-occur by examining gender differences and differences by whether the triggering traumatic event is deployment-related vs. civilian-related in current service members. A representative cohort of Reserve and National Guard service personnel (n = 1293) were interviewed to assess for deployment- or civilian-related traumas, PTSD, and anger. The prevalence of self-reported anger problems was estimated among male (n = 1036) and female (n = 257) service members. Log Poisson regression models with robust standard errors were used to estimate the associations of problems with anger with PTSD and PTSD symptom severity for men and women. Self-reported anger problems were common among male (53.0%) and female (51.3%) service members. Adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) showed associations between anger and PTSD connected to both civilian- and deployment-related traumas (PR were 1.77 (95% CI 1.52-2.05) and 1.85 (95% CI 1.62-2.12), respectively). PTSD symptom severity was also associated with anger. This study was cross-sectional and so a causal relationship between PTSD and anger cannot be established. Problems with anger are common among male and female current Guard and Reserve members. These findings suggest that anger treatment should be made available to current service members and that clinicians should assess anger problems irrespective of gender. Future research should examine the effectiveness of anger treatment protocols by gender.
Journal of Psychiatric Research 04/2014; 55(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.04.004 · 3.96 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study focused on the contribution of fear to mediating stress, as manifested in general stress reactions and impaired functioning resulting from exposure to a continuous security threat among 451 students from a college located in a confrontation zone. The findings indicated that the contribution of fear reactions was more significant than actual exposure. Married participants felt higher levels of fear than did single participants, and women were able to function despite their fear. In addition, coping patterns were both directly and indirectly related to all stress measures. The results are discussed in light of the literature on stress reactions, and practical recommendations for working in continuous threat situations are proposed.
Journal of Loss and Trauma 05/2014; 19(3). DOI:10.1080/15325024.2013.763551 · 1.03 Impact Factor
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